Tuesday's used to be "leg day" for me. On Tuesdays, the squat rack - the gym's throne - had my name on it. Arriving early, I'd hang my belt across it, alerting trespassers that for the next hour, this place was reserved. In other words, beware of owner. Keep out. Out of service. Take a number. But if I showed up to a crowded gym - and a busy rack - you'd think the ground collapsed beneath me. After all, I needed to train. But there wasn't enough room for me, my goals, my time and theirs.
When we got to The Holy Sepulchre in Old Jerusalem (the church above the Hill of Calvary), there was a crowd. People of all walks of life, backgrounds, and expectations were desperate; desperate to be near the place; the place of grace.
Walking single file, I'd occasionally peer over the shoulder of the guy in front of me to see how much further we needed to walk. C'mon, people. I just couldn't wait; my frail, little legs, shuffling along an inch at a time. I just wanted to get there.
In Mark 16: 6-7, the angel said, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.
And Peter. Indeed, I'm the millionth writer to stress those words. Peter had denied he even knew Jesus, and Jesus knew it. So Jesus - as only He could - comforts Peter. And in doing so, comforts me. And you. Try it. Just replace Peter's name with yours. "But go, tell His disciples, and...Jimmy. And Loretta. John. And Eric. And Sally. And Leanne. And Jerry. And Casey. Insert your name in the verse and the verse takes on new meaning. Try it. Say your name. And...___________________.
We've all fallen short. We've all denied Jesus by our thoughts, words and deeds. He knows what we've done. And yet, as I found out when we got to the end of the line, there's room. Like He did for Peter, He saved a place for me. And for you. He's called us out by name. But you don't have to be in Old Jerusalem to realize it. You may be reading this from your kitchen table or from your bed while sipping coffee. You may be in your cubicle at work, or you just might be awaiting your turn in the squat rack.
And if that's true, grab a set for me. But do me a favor. With each rep, as the weight gets heavier and heavier, when you come to the point of failure - when your frail legs can do no more than shuffle - say your name.
- Jimmy Peña
For Discussion: When I got to the end of the line, we were there. I was able to catch a glimpse of Calvary. I was even able to reach through a small opening and touch the hill. The thought. Somewhere below my feet is where Jesus died to pay my debt and yours. You'd think the ground collapsed beneath me. I know I'm a little sentimental, but to be there was special. Anyone with me? I'd love to pray with you. What's going on in your life? My family and team would love to pray for you. And if you'd rather not get specific, just..well...just say your name.